The Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb) has gone 10 years without external auditing, a development the Institute of Internal Auditors –Malawi (IIAM) has since condemned.
The Nation has learnt that Maneb was last audited by external auditors in 2000 and has, in between, just been subjected to random internal auditing.
In an email response, Maneb spokesperson Simeon Maganga confirmed the development, saying the board has been overwhelmed by backlog of work.
“It is true Maneb has been unaudited for a decade now. Among the reasons is that we had a backlog of work. We are working towards clearing the backlog. I can report that we have cleared some of the backlog and we expect that from now onwards, we will be able to carry external audits without problems.
“On why there were no audits in previous years, I cannot comment on that, but the fact is
that those heading management during that time are no longer with us and it will be difficult to give actual reasons,” said Maganga.
He said internal auditors finished their work on the 2010 to 2011 accounts and will soon work on 2011 to 2012 and 2012 to 2013 accounts.
Maganga added that Maneb has hired an external auditor who is working at the board during the festive season holiday. He, however, could not name the external auditor and the financial year being audited.
National Audit Office corporate communications officer Thomas Chafunya said the National Audit Office has since instituted an investigation into what led Maneb to fail to submit reports of audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor General for 10 years.
“All parastatals do engage private auditors to audit them every year and submit the audit reports to the Auditor General. However, in certain circumstances several parastatals do indeed chalk years without being audited due to internal factors.
“One of it can be the board of directors’ decisions at particular time, but whichever the case, the inability to get their accounts audited must be communicated to the line ministry, and in this case, Maneb was supposed to report to the Ministry of Education,” said Chafunya.
He added that the Auditor General’s office is making efforts to have all parastatals comply with the law by having their accounts audited annually.
But IIAM vice-president Andy Chitete described the development as unwelcome, saying Maneb, as a statutory corporation which is answerable to government, has to undergo external auditing.
“It [the audit] might not be every year, but authorities at Maneb are supposed to make sure they have external audits because as a government branch, the public is always interested to know how the management is running activities at the office,” said Chitete in disbelief that this is happening at a reputable institution such as Maneb.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament chairperson Beatrice Mwangonde said she was not aware of the development.
“I am concerned about this and I believe [the problem] is in many government departments because we recently learnt that district councils spent years [without audit],” she said.